Today, both the sermonette and the sermon dealt with the subject of honor in some fashion. The sermonette was an encouragement for us to be champions of faith, standing up for both the truth of God’s ways as well as for the people of God, particularly the vulnerable. The sermon dealt rather provocatively and pointedly with the immoral ways that ended up in depravity for Sodom and its surrounding cities  . Appropriately, I was asked to give the closing prayer, which allowed me the chance to speak rather passionately about the need for honorable private moral conduct as we prepare for public office in service to others. To be sure, none of us are perfect, but part of what equips us to be good public leaders is the massive effort it takes to live lives of honor and integrity. All too often people assume that a public life is merely a matter of image management and that their own personal behavior and character is essentially irrelevant to the offices that we hold in the public trust.
For a variety of very complicated reasons, honor has always been a matter of extreme personal importance. Part of this has to do with the fact that my honor has always been a deeply imperiled and contentious matter. Nor is this the case only for me, but it seems to be a deeply imperiled matter with many people. Part of that is because what we mean by honor is really two distinct but hopefully interrelated matters. Only one of these is under our control, and that is the nature of our own behavior towards others. To the extent that we are decent and gallant and upstanding in our own personal conduct, we are honorable people, regardless of what other people may think about us. That said, though, it is an aspect of our own sense of honor that we wish to be recognized and treated in an honorable fashion and have an honorable reputation that goes along with our honorable conduct. It is a travesty when this does not happen either because we are seen as honorable when we are not, or because of the reverse, when we are people of honor and are treated and viewed as a scoundrel.
As in so much else in my life, my thoughts on romance and honor are deeply intertwined, and both are deeply related as well with music. I do not know exactly when or how I committed myself to being an honorable gentleman in my conduct with others, a commitment that has been sorely tested in my life, but I do know that it started during childhood. One song in particular strikes me as particularly emblematic of this view of honorable and gentlemanly conduct, and that is a song by Peter Cetera for the Karate Kid 2 soundtrack called “Glory of Love.” The song itself talks about living forever, fighting for a lady’s honor, and taking her to his castle far away. In odd ways, this sort of mentality has long found itself in my life, whether it is in my concern for eternity, in my willingness to endure significant discomfort and trouble to behave honorably towards the ladies in my life, or in the role of distance and travel and being an outsider in my own life. Somehow, life doesn’t turn out like the movies and the soundtracks in our heads; it is vastly more complicated and full of ironies that simply could not be believed if we did not see them and experience them ourselves.
When I was listening to today’s sermonette, and later the sermon, I was struck by a passage that was not mentioned that reminds me of what it takes to be a champion, part of Paul’s own passionate defense of his own manner of life in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” I can understand how seriously and how passionately Paul took the subject of self-discipline and moral conduct. That is exactly how I feel about myself.
 Honor is a common subject of my writing. See, for example:
 For my own comments about the sins of Sodom and its surrounding cities, see: